2012 was neither good nor bad; it just kind of happened. I feel absolutely no need to look back on it in reflection so I won’t. That’s one of the benefits of having a blog, I suppose, that most of my thoughts are collected already without the shroud of hindsight in the way.
So — it’s 2013. That’s a good start. In fact, despite a mostly horrible first few hours to the year, it’s turning out alright so far, given recent events. My entire winter break was a frenzy of boredom, insanity, excitement, crushing disappointment, anger, and catharsis. I wrote back in July that I had a crazy three weeks toward the end of June. That sequence, augmented by endless illness, pushed me into a deep depression. The last 7 days have been far more crazy than that, if that’s even possible. I’m just lucky I’m quite healthy and ready to move on with my life. I’m starting to write this in the eastern wing of Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, the very place through which I traversed upon my arrival two weeks ago. I cannot help but feel that I am returning to California as a different person. The baggage I carried with me through security in San Francisco such a short time ago is staying in Buffalo, hopefully never to be revisited again. It’s a cliche to start over on New Years, but on this occasion it’s serendipitous. What happened to me over the past fortnight could have happened at any time of year with the same outcome, but the fact that it’s barely three days into the New Year brings so much more impact–that much cleaner of a metaphorical slate to start from.
This is all a bit cryptic, so let me elaborate. During the fourth quarter of 2012, I fell in love with an idea, despite convincing myself that that was not in fact what was happening. Ideas are dangerous; more often than not, they are incongruent with reality. It’s a personal flaw of mine to get drawn into these ideas, but having been so betrayed by it in this instance, there’s no better time to repair this flaw than right now. Despite something I actually spoke out loud minutes ago, people do, in fact, change. It’s subtle, but it happens. Over the course of a few years, one might even become unrecognizable, either in character, appearance, or both. When you have an idea of who someone is, it’s likely to diverge from reality as both the idea and the person themselves grow and change, probably in very different directions. For someone like me, the resulting dissonance can be hard to handle. Now, when the idea appears to be confirmed, but then confirmation is suddenly ripped away, it can be absolutely devastating… and that’s exactly what happened to me last week. For sanity, there’s no option other than to separate from the idea entirely. Normally, this is not much of a challenge, but when I am trapped inside a cold house with nowhere to go and no one to see, intrusive thoughts tend to oscillate in my mind in unstable resonance. Returning to my life in California will do wonders for my mental health (he said, optimistically).
It goes without saying, but this idea was important to me. It absolutely shaped my life during the time it lived in my head. It was my inspiration and my muse, my hope for the future and a seemingly realistic and attainable goal. It can be noted that I achieved some wonderful things while under its influence, but the inertia to personal growth and the numerous mental failures it caused, especially this past December, far outweigh the good (including a nasty propensity to focus only on the coming future rather than the present). There’s good to find here though. I’ve realized that inspiration is not to be found in others. I am guilty of projecting my own aspirations and desires onto others, which ultimately and without failure leads to disappointment. After all, nobody is exactly who you want them to be. My goals, from now on, are my own and only I can make them a reality. I need to become the person I idealize and be my own inspiration. Referring to another post I wrote in June, I finally have the answer to the question. I’m living for myself; that’s all I can do at this point. Perhaps it sounds selfish, but I have a lot of work to do to become who I want to be.
I guess that brings me to New Years Eve 2012, the day my beliefs were finally broken and notions shattered by cognitive dissonance. The proverbial straw, if you will. It was, in retrospect, not a completely awful night, but it wasn’t good. Some of it was my fault. I was not in a partying mood at all, but the alcohol took care of that. For once, though, I don’t think I actually did anything wrong… I’ve run through all of the events of that night over and over and found that nothing I did seemed to be either incorrect given the circumstances. I suppose I deserve what happened though. Similar events occurred to me during my freshman year of college almost five years ago, except the roles were reversed and instead of an incredibly stressful week, it happened over the course of about twenty days and it was I who was creating all of the stress. Those days were so much worse and absolutely everything was my fault. Bad karma is always repaid, it seems. At least, in both cases, I ended up knowing exactly who my friends are. Speaking of…
One thing about that night was actually kind of amazing: I ran into a guy I knew in high school. We were never really good friends, just in the same Honors classes and usually seated adjacent to each other due to alphabetical proximity. A few times we were both incredible assholes (it was high school, go figure), but that night he recognized me and seemingly excitedly stopped to chat. If you had asked me hours before the festivities if I would want to see that guy again, I would have easily said ‘no’. Perhaps it was the alcohol in both of us or the fact that time fixes most things, but we had a nice little chat about college, what we were up to in our lives, etc., and it honestly made my night. At least someone noticed that I was there. (Note: I have an uncanny ability to disappear in plain sight; I should use my powers for good)
At midnight I left and watched the fireworks over the Electric Tower in the freezing cold wind of downtown Buffalo, alone on the street. I stood in silence as the northern sky exploded; the sharp air pierced my skin causing what can only be described as cathartic suffering. That was the way it had to be. Unfortunately, not long after that, my calm was soon eviscerated by intense and barely controllable anger, the likes of which I had not felt in several long months. I’m not going to be specific as to why, but despite my best efforts to calm myself, it did not fade until well into the day, its residue actually still lingering inside me at this very moment. When I awoke on New Years Day, I stared blankly into the southern Buffalo sky as a bright sun broke through a dense torrent of snowflakes, the first real sun I’d seen since I’d been in Western New York. It was nice, but it disappeared shortly after. And so did I.
Remember to breathe deep, try to soldier on
Nothing changes on New Years Day, it’s said, but this year things actually are different–very different, and despite all of the issues I’m working through, I’m actually kind of excited. The demise of a parasitic idea brings a new found freedom and I can’t wait to see what awaits me back home in California. Happy New Year, indeed.